Chaudhri Riaz

Born: 10th June 1946

Nanka Kohana, Pakistan

Date of interview: 25th May 2006

Map showing where Chaudhri Riaz came from

OK and what was your mother's profession?

My mother was a housewife basically and ... she was always busy together with the assistants, the ladies which she had who used to cook at home because we used to have a lot of guests. So this is why even now here, you know since you have been here, the tea is going out and all that. [interviewer laughs] So this runs in our family it is in our blood you know. Any time anyone can come and we will entertain them. So at our home we had a special room where obviously the guest will come and sit. There will be one domestic employee whose job will be to welcome the guest and, you know accommodate the guests and then take the food and tea and coffee and whatever they want to eat or drink. Not alcoholic drink though.

So you know my mother was always busy with the other ladies actually to make sure that there is plenty of food for everyone who comes in to visit my father or anyone else. The rest of the time she used to spend in praying, because as I said, I consider her to be a saint and she used to spend a lot of time in prayer and [emphasised] a lot of time in worrying about other people and praying for them. You know if someone is sick my mother will pray to God and she will spend hours in praying. 'Oh God ... you know, you know ... give him a ... you know, health.' And likewise if anyone got any problem people used to contact my mother and she will pray for them. For I must say here that that was all voluntary, voluntarily and you know for charitable basis. She will not charge a single penny to anyone. Whosoever comes, whosoever used to come, my mother used to give them food, tea, milk, whatever. And she used to actually look after a lot of people, usually poor people from the area, vicinity and village, the ladies and all that they used to come to me, you know and my mother will give them free milk and sometime what meat we have got actually for ourselves. My mother would [laughs] simply take some of it and say 'OK, go home and cook it and eat' because as you know, not everyone could afford meat ... and so many other things.

So my mother really I think she was an angel. She was a wonderful lady and she has lived all her life for other people. She was never bothered about how much money you have got and how much property you possess. She was not interested in money and property. She was interested in serving people and she used to tell actually that, I have quoted that in my speeches. She used to train me, she said 'Look, rivers and seas don't drink their own water. They provide it to the people who are thirsty and for the people actually to the farmers to cultivate their land, for their irrigation purposes.

And a lot of people eat food from there and they don't charge anything and the rivers don't demand any reward. And she said, the fruit trees they provide their fruit to the other people to eat, they don't eat it themselves. For people respect the fruit trees, people respect the river because they need it.' And she said 'Likewise, if you are useful for other human beings, then you will be respected and God will like you.'
So I was raised in such a way that I had [with emphasis] to serve the human beings [laughs] but I think this was probably which brought into me the spirit of service, serving human beings. And his is how well I'm very pleased to have heard people say that I am a people's mayor and basically I think all I did was just to ... acted upon my mother's, you know sort of ... guidelines and served the people of Reading during my mayoral year. And thanks God people have liked that, they have liked it, and so that's what she was to me, doing all her life.